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In the beginning of my story two girls arrive in their car to a central square of a little European looking town with no single living soul around. They take guns from the trunk, go to a church on this square, spend 10-15 minutes there, no single shot fired, get back into their car and leave. When they leave, a swarm of little creatures follows them in the bushes that grow on the sides of the road out of the town. What's a bit off-beat here is: the driver is aware of what's going on, the passenger looks clueless and nervous. Also, both of the girls are dressed like they're going to a fancy party.

Now, I see this scene very clearly and I'd like to start with it. To make sense out of it, I came to the following conclusions

  • this town they have visited is an anomaly
  • such anomalies are created by collective subsconsiousness
  • unless you know how to find them and enter them, you could only appear in one by chance
  • even if you do, there may no be any way for you to experience it again
  • for this reason, such encounters were long percepted as being just old wifes tales
  • for this reason, no government agency will aim at exploring those (we're not in the X-files universe)
  • there is some professor that discovers how to find such anomalies and enter them
  • he tells about this only the people he trusts, since he is not sure what can be made out of this if that gets into the wrong hands (for one thing he does not trust men in black with this knowledge)
  • the driver girl may be part of this club, she was just going to a party with her female friend and got a call that there's an anomaly nearby that must be contained, so she departs there
  • that would explain their attire and different emotions for the heroines

What I don't understand though is what would be a suitable way of entering the realm of such illusion-based anomalies. I think some sort of meditation would be a good idea, but then why the driver girl would appear there

  • in the car she was driving in reality
  • with a friend of hers that was nearby
  • in a dress and on high heels, which is not very comfortable in dangerous places

What I'd like to avoid is the use of external forces (aliens, secret societies etc) since in those case I'd find it hard to believe government agencies won't be looking into this.

Feel free to retag.

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    $\begingroup$ I don't how this has to do with the rules of your world. It seems you are having problems with a plot element, but we can't help with that $\endgroup$
    – L.Dutch
    Jun 1, 2023 at 9:10
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    $\begingroup$ @L.Dutch could you elaborate? I have a specific problem with how this meditation-based travel be plausibly related with the necessity of bringing something from reality. That's more about how does this particular "technology" should work $\endgroup$
    – SBF
    Jun 1, 2023 at 9:13
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    $\begingroup$ I retagged it since there was no mention of sci fi, and there was a mention of magic, monsters, and horror. $\endgroup$
    – Nepene Nep
    Jun 1, 2023 at 10:14
  • $\begingroup$ One problem with this scenario, the driver girl has deliberately performed the meditation necessary to enter the illusion, so she isn't surprised. Her friend must have performed the same meditation, (otherwise how could she enter the illusion as well) so why is she surprised that she is in the anomaly? $\endgroup$ Jul 26, 2023 at 14:31
  • $\begingroup$ @GiantSpaceHamster if I assume that in the anomaly the driver has only had the projection of her friend, then there's no problem. However, in case her friend in reality is required to feel the impact of such journey, I guess we could still apply the idea of her being involuntarily sucked in the anomaly, like other unaware anomaly visitors were, just in this case she is protected by her friend. $\endgroup$
    – SBF
    Jul 27, 2023 at 7:26

4 Answers 4

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You Don't "Enter" the Illusion, it Manifests

While these apparitions are created by a "collective subconsciousness" she does not need to be part of the collective to experience it. Instead, when enough people subconsciously think up something, it simply becomes part of the real world until the collective thought breaks down and the world returns to its natural state.

As such, there is no portal, thresh-hold, hedge, meditative state, etc. required to enter the illusion. It simply is there in our real world so there is no question about bringing in your own personal belongings.

Why Entering One is so Rare

For every person dreaming up the manifestation, contributing thier own belief to its existence, every person who is experiencing it contributes thier own disbelief to dispel it. So, if 10,000 people around the world are sitting watch a movie about a giant radioactive lizard attacking downtown Tokio, then there are 10,000 people who might develop this subconscious image of the same monster terrorizing the same city in the same way, but the 14 million people living there all disbelieve it; so, it can not manifest. But, if 10,000 people go to bed after watching some new horror movie set in an abandoned mining town in an obscure corner Kansas, then enough of them might have convergent nightmares that picture the same town and the same experience closely enough to manifest it, but with only our two witnesses there to disbelieve it, the joint nightmare becomes more powerful than the disbelief of the conscious world. So these illusions can only manifest in places so remote that there are not a credible number of witnesses.

Why It Is So Unpredictable

While news and movie releases CAN give you an idea about what kinds of illusions will become possible, they are hard to pinpoint because there has to be a convergence of subconscious thoughts. As thousands of people watch the same movie at the same time, they see the same things, but it is conscious thoughts. It's the things we repeat in our minds, our fantasies, fears, and nightmares that can cause the manifestations, and these things then diverge from the thing we actually all saw/heard. So, if 10,000 people watch a horror movie, only a few thousand might actually have persistent subconscious thoughts about it, and those few thousand people might picture hundreds of different things at a time; so, only when the randomness of thoughts converge enough can the manifestation happen.

In the case of you heroine, it's possible they knew a horror movie came out that could trigger a manifestation. And they waited... and waited... and for several weeks, they got nothing until finally enough random thoughts converged on this one town which is why she was caught so off guard when she got the call.

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  • $\begingroup$ Fantastic, I like your idea a lot. $\endgroup$
    – SBF
    Jul 26, 2023 at 17:19
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The collective consciousness requires you to embody a horror stereotype to enter.

The girl has adopted the role of the idiotic bimbo who drives into a dangerous situation with a friend unprepared, a popular and common horror idea.

  1. The girl she is with is a virgin, which makes it easier to enter.

  2. The car is a luxury model to play up how wealthy and privileged she is, so it makes it easier for her to die.

  3. The dress and heels are there to add to her bimbo image.

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Perhaps time and place matter.

In the movie Krull, half the movie is spent trying to predict the place that the evil castle will appear, since it teleports every 24 hours. Then it's a rush to arrive at that particular place. Having little time to prepare could explain a great many cases of being under prepared or I'll prepared. It could even explain the case of dragging along an unwitting passenger. Entrances to this alternate world that appear and disappear and/or change places could also explain random people blundering into these places.

Conversely, it could be that the group is not trying to enter the alternate world, but exit it. A moving or one-way entrance could require the individuals to "borrow" transportation to reach the exit. This is the less-likely scenario, however, as it might not match some of what you described.

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  • $\begingroup$ essentially what you're suggesting is that people would enter such an anomaly phisically, through some kind of a portal? $\endgroup$
    – SBF
    Jun 1, 2023 at 20:36
  • $\begingroup$ That would best explain the people wandering in. An alternative is that the group's chosen method must be performed at a certain time and place, but it's difficult to determine the location ahead of time. $\endgroup$ Jun 1, 2023 at 20:59
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She entered the anomaly through a Lucid dreaming

Lucid dreaming is when you’re conscious during a dream. This typically happens during rapid eye movement (REM) sleep, the dream-stage of sleep.

An estimated 55 percent of people have had one or more lucid dreams in their lifetime.

During a lucid dream, you’re aware of your consciousness. It’s a form of metacognition, or awareness of your awareness. Often, lucid dreaming also lets you control what happens in your dream.

Dreams are subconscious, so they already exist in the same kind of "space" as your anomalies do. By using special techniques, your heroine can not only induce lucid dreaming in herself, but also seek out and enter those anomalous spaces.

Good part is the she does not even need to sleep in order to lucid dream:

  1. Wake-initiated lucid dreaming (WILD)

A wake-initiated lucid dream (WILD) happens when you directly enter a dream from waking life. It’s said WILD helps your mind stays conscious while your body goes to sleep.

You’ll need to lay down and relax until you experience a hypnagogic hallucination, or a hallucination that occurs when you’re just about to fall asleep. WILD is simple, but it’s difficult to learn.

This could also explain cases of people being "snatched" by the anomaly from the streets as they started to daydream little too hard.

Your heroine, at least at the beginning of your story, is not yet skilled enough to be able to control every aspect of a dream she enters the anomaly from. This can put her into all sorts of illogical and dangerous circumstances, which you can use to show off her wits as she deals with them.

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  • $\begingroup$ A very nice example, thanks. I wonder though what’s simple about WILD if it’s hard to learn $\endgroup$
    – SBF
    Jul 26, 2023 at 17:17

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